“People say my vision of the future is bleak. The future is here. I think the landscape that I describe in all the songs is here.” Leonard Cohen (1993)

People say my vision of the future is bleak. The future is here. I think the landscape that I describe in all the songs is here. It is that landscape which provokes these cries. Those are not my personal politics, these are the kinds of cries that arise in response to the catastrophe in which we find ourselves. Human beings have always found themselves in a catastrophe. The human predicament is catastrophic, but these are the cries: ‘Give me back the Berlin Wall, give me Stalin and St. Paul…lie beside me baby, that’s an order’. This is the mind shattered by the predicament. So that mind which says ‘give me crack and anal sex’, also says ‘I’ll be loving you always’. In other words, all kinds of expression, irresponsible, shattered, broken, fragmented, passionate, indifferent; all these cries arise from this shattered heart, that is the heart that I confess I have, and in bars, guys occasionally confess they have.

Leonard Cohen


From Leonard Cohen…What’s Your Problem? Doom and Gloom by Patrick Humphries (Vox: February, 1993),

Hear Leonard Cohen Talk About Terrorism, Kerouac, Songwriting, Zen, Dylan, Joan Baez, Chelsea Hotel #1 and #2, Jennifer Warnes, & Irving Layton (1993)

Plus Recitation Of “Paris Models,” Using Computers To Write & Draw, Origins Of “Way Down Deep” and “Do Dum Dum Dum, De Do Dum Dum” In Tower of Song

Leonard Cohen interviewed about The Future
Vin Scelsa’s Idiot’s Delight – June 13, 1993

From the Soundcloud description:

This originally aired live on the Sunday night sojourn of Idiot’s Delight on WXRK (92.3 KROCK) in New York. The first attack on the World Trade Center in late February 1993 was still on everyone’s mind; thoughts and questions about the nature of “the terrorist mentality” were very much in the air. Leonard’s latest album was “The Future.” He was in New York for a concert. His thoughts on the subject were vivid and have proved chillingly prescient over the years. Note : The music played that night has been truncated for this Podcast; same with the commercial breaks. Otherwise this is how it went down. Leonard Cohen was unique … it was a great privilege to spend this time with him.


A transcript of this interview is included in Leonard Cohen On Leonard Cohen, Editor Jeff Burger

Hear Leonard Cohen Talk About Touring, The Future, Country Music… 1993

David Dye writes about his 1993 interview with Leonard Cohen in World Cafe: Backstage With Leonard Cohen In 1993:

I went alone with a tape recorder. When Cohen arrived, he walked off the bus wearing a band jacket whose lapel had been embroidered with “Field Commander Cohen.” Commander Cohen was gracious as we settled into the reverberant dressing room. (Believe it or not, he thanked me for having the interest to interview him.) I can’t believe I had the chutzpah to call him the “Barry White of folk music.” What was I thinking? Well, I was thinking “deep voice, affinity for string arrangements” — and maybe that people listened while loving. Afterward, it was soundcheck time and I settled in to listen — until Cohen came over and ever-so-kindly explained that sound check was a ritual, a sacred moment for the band. And, uh, I wasn’t in the band. I did not stay for the show that night. But years later, in 2009, I witnessed one of the most moving shows ever at the Tower Theater in Philadelphia — and I feel myself blessed.

Topics covered include

  • The Future album
  • Democracy – Its writing and its scope
  • Closing Time – “Things as we know it are coming to an end”
  • County music – Leonard notes that growing up in Montreal he heard “French versions of country western standards” and that tour buses frequently traveled from Montreal to Nashville
  • Leonard holds that “renewal mechanisms” exist “from the Catholic church to AA”
  • His influence on young musicians
  • Pump Up The Volume
  • Stranger Music anthology

Clips are played from

  • “Democracy” (from The Future)
  • “Closing Time” (from The Future)
  • “The Future” (from The Future)
  • “Everybody Knows” (from I’m Your Man)

“[The Future] cements Cohen’s reputation as wry nineties ironist & all-round spokesman for the human condition. Little short of a bloody marvel.”

This excellent new album continues the stylistic experiments inaugurated with I’m Your Man, with only a few nods to the jaundice folkiness that made him so popular with hypochondriacs and raving paranoiacs in the first place. Likewise, his lyrical concerns have broadened beyond familiar themes of seduction and betrayal, with numerous forays into the political amphitheatre and committed stabs into the belly of the cynical, hard-boiled nineties.quotedown2


From Leonard Cohen: The Future by Cliff Jones, Rock CD, December 1992. Found at Rock’s Backpages. Access full review at the link.

Signs Of Leonard Cohen: 1992 “The Voice Of The Soul” The Future Ad


This rare, gorgeously designed and executed French advertisement for Leonard Cohen’s The Future album was published in Les Inrockuptibles (December 1992, n° 41, p 59). The heading, “LA VOIX DE L’ÂME …” translated into English is “THE VOICE OF THE SOUL…” From Dominique BOILE

Note: Originally posted Aug 6, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen on creating The Future album: “There’s flesh and blood attached to it …”


[The Future] involved a four-year struggle; the songs, some of them, are eight, ten years in the works. The record is there for keeps. There’s flesh and blood attached to it. I did what was necessary, and I sit here kind of wrecked.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From No Mercy – Leonard Cohen’s Tales from the Dark Side by Anthony DeCurtis. Rolling Stone: January 21, 1993. Originally posted Jan 4, 2015 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“The landmarks are down and the lights have gone out and you’re holding on to your orange crate in the torrent and somebody goes by holding on to his broken flag staff. What is the appropriate behavior in this circumstance?” Leonard Cohen


Screenshot from video of Barbara Gowdy-Leonard Cohen interview

So would you say as much as you can that you are what you write? That you stand by your songs?

I would stand by them [my songs]. But I’ve been presenting this rap for a long time, which is a catastrophe has taken place, there’s no point in waiting for it, and somehow in the interior plane or the interior landscape a catastrophe has taken place, there is a flood going on… It’s been going on a a long time–I don’t know when the wave broke the wall. But I do believe we are in this torrent, that the landmarks are down and the lights have gone out and you’re holding on to your orange crate in the torrent and somebody goes by holding on to his broken flag staff. What is the appropriate behavior in this circumstance? Is it to declare yourself a conservative or a liberal or for abortion or against abortion? Those kinds of descriptions seem to be totally irrelevant to the situation. I prefer my descriptions of myself as they have developed over the years in my songs and books. I think that those descriptions are much more appropriate and, yes, I would stand by them.

Leonard Cohen


From TV Interview by Barbara Gowdy. Broadcast Nov 19, 1992 on TVOntario and published in One on One: The Imprint Interviews, edited by Leanna Crouch (1994).